I would think that for you, Bunny and Island Dog the 'traditional' dinning choice would be better. Personal choice would put you at a different table every night, with different people, unless you opted for a small "table for two" and I can't see you ladies doing that!
And I think the others have given you good info on making your choice pre-cruise. As you found there was a wait list for first seating, so there is still demand for the 'traditional' dinning form.
As for the tipping, if you are going to do personal choice then I'd go with the auto payment form that Princess has instituted, and hand out envelope's with the additional gratuity on the last night, as usual.
Have fun planning this trip (and all the others you three have on the books!)
Dall & Pat